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Source: Markus Spiske 
In collaboration with Cerita Data, Project Planet ID conducted an online survey targeting residents of Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi). A total of 277 responses were gathered, with the age group between 18-24 making up the majority of respondents. More importantly, 43% were also based in Jakarta, which will be crucial to analyse how the recent single-use plastic bag ban will influence their plastic consumption.
Jakarta — On July 1, Jakarta officially banned single-use plastic in shopping centers, supermarkets and traditional markets . The government hopes that this will slash the megacity's plastic waste output and become a stepping stone for Indonesia to become entirely free of plastic pollution.
The question is: will it?
A week after the ban was implemented, 40% of respondents in Jakarta were still using single-use plastics more than five times a week, including plastic bags.
Although “get rid of single-use plastic bags” has been a rallying cry for many environmentalists all over the world, its spread has not quite reached Indonesia, at least to the desired level.
Our results show that reusable bags were still not widely used, at least in the Jabodetabek area. Instead, reusable straws and bottles were the top reusables used by our respondents, ranging between 20-50% of the responses.
Perhaps, this is because plastic bags are the most frequently used plastic item by our respondents, as much as 74.07%, followed by plastic packaging and straws.
Why plastic bags are so high in demand
Like any other single-use plastics, people like using plastic bags because they’re light, cheap and most importantly, they’re so readily available. Usually, customers can expect them for free, such as when grocery shopping and ordering food online.
“The consumer oftentimes has little choice to refuse plastic,” said Trent Hodges, Plastic Pollution Manager for the Surfrider Foundation. “And because it’s so ubiquitous and such a common item, it becomes a force of habit….” .
So in a way, sellers are also partially responsible. While many chain supermarkets, convenience stores, and restaurants have started offering eco-friendly bags, not everyone is financially-equipped to do so, especially traditional markets and street vendors . With a lack of enforcement, these sellers face low risk and customers, in turn, have little incentive to switch to reusable shopping bags.
Situational factors can also directly affect our plastic consumption. During the COVID-19 outbreak, 24% of respondents claimed that they were using more plastics than they normally would, which makes sense considering many had to rely on online platforms to buy food and other necessities, thus increasing the amount of plastic waste, including plastic bags .
Regardless, 71% of the respondents agreed that this ban is an important step to make Indonesia plastic pollution-free by 2040
A week is too short to judge whether this ban will be effective or not and we have a reason to be optimistic, considering that Banjarmasin and Denpasar recorded a significant decrease in plastic bag use after its ban was implemented.
But in order to solve our plastic waste problem, we need more ideas, strategies and actions. When the Jabodetabek residents were asked what the government should do next to reduce our plastic waste, 27% agreed that the government should invest in research and development in plastic alternatives and also subside their production so people from all demographics can have access.
Apart from that, public displays of plastic waste can also be a powerful tool for social change.
For example, artist Daniel Webb turned a year’s worth of plastic into an impressive mural called “Everyday Plastic” and just last year an environmentalist group called the Plastic-Free Parade Team staged an anti-plastic protest in North Jakarta by parading plastic monsters made up of plastic waste to symbolize the deadly threat of plastic pollution [4,5].
As consumers, we need to be more conscious and take responsibility for our actions, starting from complying with the ban. Think about it: every time we say no to plastic bags, there is one less plastic waste wandering aimlessly in the environment. Imagine if your close family, friends and colleagues do the same. Will you refuse plastic?
Source: Markus Spiske 
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